Pampanga,  Philippines

That Which Fails to Fly (17th Hot Air Balloon Festival)

It’s the 17th Philippine International Balloon Festival at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga this weekend, and I am one of those sad ones not able to witness the cutesy patootsy balloons in the sky. Yes, this is a sad story, and this will be the only post about that event without hot air balloon photos in the whole wide world. BOO. Doesn’t mean I saw nothing though. It was the weekend of everything that flies after all.

Like airplanes – small ones like this which I dreamt of flying when I was younger (I still do).

And bigger ones I don’t mind just riding.

And even bigger ones.

How about a photo with this heavy soldier outfit? They have to be really macho to wear this stuff all day. I felt my back would break just wearing it for a minute.

You have to be there really early. The event starts at 5:00am and the hot air balloons fly at 5:45 until 7:00 – at least that’s what their schedule says. We got there at 9:00 and wondered why traffic wasn’t that heavy anymore. Teehee.

We got to watch a few things though, like the Philippine Coast Guard Rescue Demonstration.

My sister Nikka (who came later on with her friends) still thinks it was my other sister Vianca who volunteered to be one of the “victims” in this segment. Hello, they had to lie down on the ground with all that dust and under the almost-noontime sun.

There’s the radio-controlled model aircraft demo.

And some fantastic kites.

And this is a… parachuter with an electric fan on his back (don’t try this at home)?

See how crowded the grounds were.

Cute little balloons and other things as souvenirs.

Since my dad really wanted to see them balloonies, we left and hung out at the SM Clark mall first and came back around 5:00 to watch the second flight. We waited, waited.

Until finally, SM’s balloon was being blown up. It was having a hard time because of the wind, but they’re trying…

There ya go. Two up! And our hopes were also up.

Others also tried, as the others went down and failed.

Sonic tried.

The only word we heard from the host was “unfortunately”.

And everyone started to pack up. 🙁

Oh well! The thing about stories is that you can always choose where to start and end them. So I’m not ending this one here yet. We’ll be back next year and we’ll wake up real early and we’ll get to see them hot air balloons in the sky.

More about the festival on their website: This happens yearly at the Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines.

Vida is a restless, universe-loving, forever-child with a very short attention span. She is mostly enthusiastic about travel, adventure, technology, fitness, and lately, life hacks. Most of her days are spent on tech partnerships in a telco, and most nights practicing capoeira (or yoga, or boxing, or trying some other unheard of art of movement). She likes experiments, little projects, and writes too, sometimes, at And if you're interested, sh... Hey, look, a flower!


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